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Sunday 7 February 2010

Arithmetic Expression Evaluation

Arithmetic Expressions
  • An expression is a string of symbols 
  •  Arithmetic expressions are made up of variable names,binary operators and brackets.But in actual computer languages there are many other things such as powers(**),unary minus(-a),numbers(22/7*3.12a) and things like function(a=find(a,b)+c) and array references may be present. 
  • We are going to consider the expressions with variables(a-z),digits,binary operators(+,-,*,/) and brackets[(-left  & )-right] 
  • example of some arithmetic expression  

Types of Expression: 
  • An expression can be in 3 form
  1. Infix Expression
  2. Prefix Expression
  3. Postfix Expression 
  • Infix,prefix and postfix notations are different ways of writing expression.
  • In the 3 ways, the operands occur in the same order but the operators have to be moved. 
  • We are using infix type of expression in our daily life but the computer uses postfix or  prefix type of expression 
1.Infix Notation:
  • Operators are written in between their operands 
  • This is used in our common mathematical expressions.
  • The operations(order of evaluation) are performed from left to right. and it obeys precedence rules ie multiplication and division are performed before addition and subtraction.
  • Brackets can be used to change the order of evaluation 
  • examples 
      (a)  A+B  (b) X*(Y+Z)

2.Prefix Notation(Polish notation)
  • Operators are written before their operands
  • order of evaluation from right to left.
  • example
      (a) +AB   (b)*X+YZ

3.Postfix Notation(Reverse Polish notation) 
  • Operators are written after their operands 
  • The order of evaluation of operators is always from left to right
  • brackets cannot be used to change the order of evaluation.
  • Example
       (a) AB+,  (b) XYZ+*

Operator Precedence:

  • In the table the precedence is decreasing downwardly
  • if there are two operators with same precedence then computer start to solve the expression from left to right 

Arithmetic Expression Evaluation:
  • An important application of stacks is parsing. ie a compiler must evaluate arithmetic expressions written using infix notation.
  • The problem of parsing infix expression can be break in to 2 stages
  1. Infix to Postfix Conversion
  2. Evaluating a Postfix expression
  • Converting an infix expression in to postfix expression and evaluating a Postfix expression is a easier problem than directly evaluating Infix expression


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